Florida Marijuana Laws: Is Marijuana Legal in Florida?

UPDATE: On November 8, 2016, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that will legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes beyond a previous law that limited such use to low-THC cannabis for limited groups of patients. Amendment 2 legalizes access to medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions, a physician's certification, and a valid ID card. While Amendment 2 passed with well over the required votes at 70%, just how it will be implemented remains to be seen as lawmakers must now come together to hammer out the necessary rules and regulations. The amendment takes effect January 2017.

Possession of marijuana is generally illegal in Florida. However, Florida courts have established a necessity defense in cases of medical marijuana and Florida voters have recently approved a constitutional amendment legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Under Amendment 2, a person may possess and use marijuana if he or she is doing so to treat a "debilitating medical condition," which includes:

  • cancer
  • epilepsy
  • glaucoma
  • positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as those mentioned above, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.

What are the Penalties for the Possession of Marijuana in Florida?

If you are arrested for charges relating to illegal possession of marijuana, the charges you face will depend on the amount of marijuana in your possession and your intended use. Those found with small amounts for personal use face lighter penalties than those with larger amounts and/or the intent to sell the marijuana. Penalties vary but can include incarceration, fines, and treatment for marijuana addiction. Just as adults can face jail or prison sentences, minors in possession of marijuana typically face time in a juvenile facility. Another noteworthy factor is that those possessing synthetic forms of marijuana (tetrahydrocannabinols) will frequently face harsher penalties than those who possess normal marijuana.

You do not have to be caught in the act of selling marijuana to be charged with attempted distribution. Merely possessing a large amount of marijuana, measuring equipment, baggies, or other paraphernalia may be indicative of intent to distribute, and this evidence can be used against you in a charge of possession with intent to sell. Furthermore, under Florida law, there is a presumption that you intend to sell marijuana when you have 25 plants or more. If you possess that many plants for personal use, you will have to prove during trial that the plants were for personal use and not distribution. Below is a table that indicates the penalties for acts related to the illegal possession and sale of marijuana under Florida law. Keep in mind that there are separate penalties under federal law. Under the complicated interplay of Florida and federal law, the specific penalties you face can vary widely depending on the circumstances of your case, so you should consider speaking with an experienced Florida marijuana attorney. (Fla. Stat. Sections 893.03, 893.13, 893.135, & 893.1351)

Marijuana Penalties Table*

Activity

Amount

Incarceration

Fine

Charge

Possession (small amounts)

Gift

20 grams or less

1 year (max)

$1,000 (max)

Misdemeanor (First Degree)

Personal Use

20 grams or less

Over 20 grams to 25 lbs or  under 300  plants

5 years (max)

$5,000 (max)

 

 

 

F
E
L
O
N
Y

Sale or Possession  of large amounts

Sale

25 lbs or less

Outside of designated areas

Within 1,000 ft. of schools, parks, etc

15 years (max)

$10,000 (max)

Under 300  plants

No Minors

Minor present at grow house

30 years (max)

Sale or Possession of large amounts

Over 25 lbs up to 2,000 lbs or 300 – 2,000 plants

3 years (min)

$25,000

2,000 lbs up to 10,000 lbs  or 2,000 – 10,000 plants

7 years (min)

$50,000

10,000 lbs or more or 10,000 plants or more

15 years (min)

$200,000

*Your driver’s license may be suspended for marijuana-related convictions unrelated to driving.

Follow this link for more information about Florida Marijuana Laws and Florida Medical Marijuana Laws